The New London native, now a club pro at Windmill Lakes in Ravenna, was working Saturday for Titleist at Eagle Creek’s practice facility. Despite the 40-degree temperature, he had several appointments with amateur golfers who wanted their clubs custom-fitted.
“This is the year of the driver,” said Long, who has been custom-fitting clubs for 10 years. “Last year we introduced a new series of irons and fairway metals.”
Although Long was more than happy to talk about his new No. 1 wood, he assured a players wedge game is much more important.
“Our new color-coded wedges, either in bronze or brushed nickel, have a stronger center of gravity," he said. "And forgiveness is important because 70 percent of a players shots come from 100 yards in. Known distance-gap is critical. This set has proven to both uniformly cut through fairway turf as well as work efficiently out of bunkers.”
Naturally, Long was also willing to talk about the No. 1 ball in golf.
“It is the No. 1 ball on tour because it plays the best,” he said. “The Boston manufacturing facility takes great pains in making sure their product is uniform no matter who puts it on the tee. It’s pretty hard not to say you are second best when you are counted in the 100 of the 114 touring professionals who play Titleist."
Ping’s rep, Nick Shay, was also on hand showcasing his new G400 club series. Shay started in the business in Wyoming and worked his way to Ping headquarters in Phoenix, and is now based in Medina.
“We added some tungsten weight to the driver, bumping it up from 445cc to 460,” Shay said. “The bottom line is it is the most-forgiving driver on the market, and who doesn’t like forgiveness when you have a better chance at hitting the fairway?
“Our entire G400 series has been well-received, and I expect the positive feedback to continue as I continue on a Demo Day schedule that will include some 70, four-hour stops over the next three months," he added.
Neither Long or Shay would price their clubs. Both are on hand to professionally fit clubs to individual clients. They in turn sell to the pro shop, with the latter setting the price to the customer.
Speaking of the pro shop, Eagle Creek’s Director of Golf David Morgan claimed the course is pretty much status quo from last year.
“If it isn’t broke, we don’t have to fix it,” was his take on a course that continues to be rated as one of the best in Ohio. “Emphasis over the winter was on the lounge and banquet facility.
"The building might be 100 years old, but you would never know it after the face-lift it got over the past four months," Morgan added. "That part of Eagle Creek is open year-around. This part is just waiting for the weather to break, although it’s obvious from the turn-out on a 40-degree day, sun is nice, but not necessarily needed when you have a quality product.”
The pro shop has added another employee. Former Norwalk High School golfer Mason Berry will work as an assistant this summer. The 2014 NHS graduate is just days from graduating from Ashland University.with a degree in Early Childhood education. Berry played No. 1 his junior and seniors seasons on the Wes Douglas-coached Norwalk team.
In other golf news, Bill Pfefferle at the Willard Golf Club has the players wanted sign out for a number of leagues. He has openings on the following:
— Monday morning for a 10 a.m. scramble start. Just choose up who shows up. Then on Monday night there is a 2-person scramble going off between 3-4:30 p.m.
— Tuesday afternoon between 3-5 p.m. there is a 2-Man league going off.
— Wednesday afternoon there is a 2-person scramble league featuring Donnelley players who welcome all parties.
— Thursday there is a unique league on the course. It goes for 20 weeks. Tee it up anytime during the day. A partner isn't needed, and your best 12 scores are counted.
— There is also a Church League and other leagues that include just about every family-member combination.
Pfefferle burns the midnight oil putting combinations for scrambles, skins and other games on the calendar.
The weekly league fee is $17 for nine holes with carts optional. Pfefferle answers at 419-935-0252.